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a full human being - Jo Lamm

another black body down.

face smashed into the gravel like so many rocks driven over until they become the road; no relief from the officer’s knee pinning him down by the neck. a modern day lynching in my own backyard. frozen bystanders repeating with raw desperation and disbelief “look at him bro…he’s not fucking moving bro!”

George himself wheezing “i can’t breathe…i can’t breathe...i can’t breathe…momma…momma” while the officer’s knee remains a deadly weapon for eight minutes forty-six seconds. a brave seventeen-year-old girl recording the horror show for the world to watch with blood and tears in our eyes; the killing officer’s eyes vacant, insensate as George passed to greet his momma and the angels.

where was that officer in that moment when he was actively killing a black man in front of a crowd, his fellow officers on the back of the handcuffed and pleading George? was the officer with his ancestor on the cotton plantation whipping his slave or raping that slave’s wife while his own wife prepared his dinner? or was he with a group of klansmen hooded like cowards gathered around a black man hanging from a tree, forty gaping bullet holes in his body, celebrating like banshees among innocent children born colorblind and taught to hate in the most evil way? or maybe the officer was with his fellow men in blue hosing down the protesters in the civil rights era, beating the black bodies with their clubs and siccing the dogs on them? privileged white men in uniform desperate to stop any threat to institutional power, any obstacle to maintaining the illusion of separation and dominance, of false superiority.

George, who loved his momma and was described by friends as a gentle giant, a peacemaker and a friend to all, father to a beautiful girl, became another victim of ignorance and pathetic fear, an example of the systemic failure of racism brought forth on this continent when the first slaves touched the soil in 1619 fresh off the boats from Africa, cargo instead of flesh; white supremacy poisoning a new nation supposedly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

there is no clear path forward until a reckoning, a spiritual awakening occurs and a black person is recognized as equal in every sense, not a ratio of a person but a whole human being.

the majority in power not understanding and incorporating this into their conscience, their heart and soul, are perpetuating a dangerous myth about ‘other,’

ignoring the true nature of humanity: compassion, kindness, love, acceptance, mercy.

whether it is a police officer turning off his camera before he shoots or a leader using tear gas on peaceful protestors or a proud boy carrying the confederate flag and waving his gun; these individuals espousing racism and white supremacy are missing their own potential for peace, enlightenment, contentment, equanimity, and inner freedom;

hardly full human beings themselves.


Jo Lamm is an avid reader and writer. She has been a reader since she was quite young; it served as both entertainment and escape from a chaotic alcoholic family environment. She began writing poems in fourth grade. Career-wise, she worked for thirteen years as a Clinical Psychologist in her own private practice, specializing in trauma. Last year she decided to take a break and do some extra training as well as take time to write a book. She earned her certification as a holistic life coach and an advanced yoga teacher. Jo also trained to be a volunteer teaching mindfulness and yoga to women who are incarcerated. Jo also donate books to prisons. Reading, yoga and meditation have been transformative in her life, and Jo want to offer these gifts to women who don’t have access to them. She is grateful for the privilege she has had.


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